It’s the most important product you can put on your skin and too many people aren’t applying it correctly. Sunscreen can help prevent skin cancer, sunburns and premature skin aging but only if used properly. The experts at Affiliated Dermatology want you to avoid the most common sunscreen mistakes:
- Failing to read the label. Look for sunscreens that are broad-spectrum, water-resistant and have an SPF of at least 30.
- Using too little. Most people fail to use the recommended amount. Generally, an adult needs about one ounce (a full shot glass) to cover exposed skin. Apply 15 minutes before heading outside and reapply every two hours, more often if you’re sweating or in water.
- Using old product. Check the bottle for an expiration date. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires sunscreens to retain their original strength for at least three years. If you don’t see an expiration date or it’s expired, get a new bottle.
- Applying only when sunny. Harmful UV rays take no days off. Even when it’s cloudy, up to 80 percent of UV rays can penetrate your skin. Use sunscreen every day.
- Using only sunscreen. In addition to a broad-spectrum sunscreen, you should wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and seek shade.
The importance of sunscreen for skin cancer prevention
Sunscreen use can help prevent skin cancer by protecting you from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender or race. In fact, it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
- Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer—with more people diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.
- More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour.
- Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.
- When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.
- In the U.S., more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.
- People who live in year-round sunny environments have a higher risk of skin cancer.
Main Types of Skin Cancer
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are most often found on parts of the body exposed to the sun like the head and neck. Melanomas can also start on the neck and face and is more common on the chest and back in men and legs in women. All three types of skin cancers can usually be cured if caught in the early stages.
Find a Dermatologist in Phoenix, AZ
If you’re not sure what that annoying itch or rash is, feel like something is off with your skin, or need your yearly skin exam, please feel free to contact us! Our dermatologists are in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Anthem, Surprise, Old Town, Tempe, Ahwatukee, and Old Town Scottsdale, AZ where skin health is our first priority.